UPDATE: Victim Identified in Pohoiki Shark Attack
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by Nate Gaddis
Updated 08/19/13 with victim’s identity, more details
Responding just after 1:30 p.m. today after reports of a shark attack at Pohoiki on the Big Island, emergency responders arrived at the Pohoiki Boat Ramp to find a 16-year-old male being treated for injuries by life guards.
The teenager reported that he was surfing at the “Dead Trees” surf area when he was attacked from behind by a gray colored shark that he estimated to be 8 feet in length.
The shark attack left the victim with multiple lacerations and puncture wounds to his lower body. Medics transported the victim to the Pahoa Fire Station, then by helicopter to the Hilo Medical Center emergency room.
Hawai`i County’s Chopper 1 conducted an aerial search in the area of the attack, but could not find any sign of sharks present.
The Pohoiki incident was the second shark-related event on the Big Island Sunday. Hapuna Beach Park was closed on the afternoon of August 18 after a shark sighting, and was set to remain closed for the rest of the day.
Although no further details have been released by county officials, community members and friends have identified the surfer as 16-year-old Jimmy “Ulu Boy” Napeahi, a member of the Puna Surf Team.
Fellow surfers reported that Napeahi was suddenly pulled underwater while sitting on his board Sunday afternoon. Friends quickly helped him to shore, and treated his wounds until rescuers arrived from the Hawai`i Fire Department.
As of Sunday night, Napeahi was still undergoing treatment at HMC for punctures and lacerations to his lower body.
Meanwhile, social networks have been awash in well-wishes for the teen, who was reportedly training for an upcoming surfing competition on Oahu’s North Shore.